How To Shape a Babka

Babka Shaping 15Making babka? Don’t be afraid! Here is how to shape it so it looks beautifully swirly:

The recipe I use makes either two standard-sized loaves or 5 mini loaves (1 lb. loaf pans measuring approximately 6 in. x 3 in. x 2 in.). When I make mini loaves, I use disposable aluminum pans similar to these mini loaf pans, so I can give away my mini babkas as gifts. These paper loaf pans are also really cute.

Start by preparing your loaf pans.  Brush the insides with a neutral oil, like canola. Then, line them with parchment paper. (If you are using those paper loaf pans above, you will not need to oil or line!)

Now, divide your dough evenly.  If you are making two standard-sized loaves, split in half, roughly 18 oz. of dough each.  If you are making baby loaves, split the dough into fifths, roughly 7 oz. of dough each.

Work with one section of dough at a time.  Put the others back into the fridge.

Babka Shaping Part 1(1) Press the piece of dough into a rectangular prism shape.  This will help you roll it our more evenly.
(2) Roll out the dough into a rectangle, 15 x 11 for standard loaves, 7 x 9 for mini loaves.*
(3) Spread the filling almost to the edges with a rubber spatula or offset spatula.

Babka Shaping Part 2(1) Making sure the longer side is facing you, begin rolling your dough from the bottom.
(2) Roll your dough tightly until you reach the top edge.
(3) Roll the seam side up and pinch the seam to close it.  Pinch the side seams to close as well.
(4) With a serrated knife, slice the dough roll in half, lengthwise.
(5) Completely separate the two pieces and flip the filling side up.
Babka Shaping Part 3(1) Pinch the two pieces together at the top and twist one piece over the other.
(2-5) Continue to twist the dough by alternating which piece is on top.
(6) When you come to the end of your dough, pinch the ends together.
(7) Transfer your twisted dough into the oiled and lined bread pan.  You will have to smoosh the dough into the pan.  It’s okay if there are gaps because they will fill as the dough rises and bakes.

Repeat the above steps for all of the sections of dough.

Your dough is now ready to rise!  Cover your dough loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Start preheating your oven to 375 degrees now, so it is ready when your dough finishes rising.

*I absolutely love my Pizzacraft dough rolling mat.  It has measurements along the edges for rectangular shapes and circles of different diameters in the middle.  I use it for pizza, pie, babka, or anything that needs a nice rolling surface. I picked mine up randomly from Marshall’s, but you can find it here.

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